‘Not my best series’: Wolvaardt seeks redemption as South Africa gears up for WACA Test

February 14, 2024
South Africa Women’s Test captain Laura Wolvaardt attributed her struggles in the ODI series against Australia women as "small technical errors

Perth, Feb 14 (IANS) South Africa Women’s Test captain Laura Wolvaardt attributed her struggles in the ODI series against Australia women as “small technical errors,” ahead of the one-off WACA Test against Australia women’s starting on Thursday. That followed knocks of 15, 58* and 16 during the three T20Is. This has been a disappointing return from the 24-year-old, who averages 44 in one-day and 34 in T20Is.

Reflecting on her performance, Wolvaardt attributed her struggles to “small technical errors,” which she has diligently addressed in the nets ahead of the upcoming WACA Test. The 24-year-old expressed confidence in rectifying these issues and expressed hope for a more substantial contribution in the longest format of the game.

“Not my best series, but I’ve had a good couple of days now in the nets just hopefully fixing those small technical errors that have had me nicking off the whole time,” Wolvaardt told reporters in Perth on Wednesday. “Hopefully I’m able to bat a bit longer in the Test match.”

The last Test match between South Africa and England was played in Taunton in the middle of 2022. Wolvaardt began the batting with Andrie Steyn, who is not in the current lineup. The Proteas played their first Test since 2014. Following a slew of well-publicized retirements over the previous 18 months, they may have as many as six debutantes in their starting lineup on Thursday.

Despite her recent setbacks, Wolvaardt remains steadfast in her belief that her technique is well-suited to Test cricket. Having previously opened the batting in South Africa’s last Test against England, she is determined to make her mark in the red-ball format once again.

“I think the conditions (in Australia) have been pretty challenging, it has been swinging around quite a bit in the ODI series, and it might do a bit more here,” she continued.

“But at least I have more time to leave the ball and get in good positions, so hopefully I can just spend a bit of time out there and it just takes one or two shots and I’ll be back.”

As South Africa prepares to take on Australia in what promises to be a challenging encounter, Wolvaardt embraces the added responsibility of Test captaincy. Acknowledging the steep learning curve of leading the side in the longer format, she remains focused on adapting to the demands of the role.

“That’s probably the hardest part, is having a crash course in the last few days,” she said.

“Captaincy wise as well, just the fields and not having much domestic experience with red ball either makes it quite challenging. We had a Test match camp before this tour just to touch on the basics … hopefully the more we play the better we’ll get at it.”

For Australia, Wolvaardt’s threat looms large, with Beth Mooney acknowledging her as a formidable opponent despite recent setbacks. Mooney highlighted the need for meticulous planning to counter Wolvaardt’s prowess, emphasizing the importance of nullifying her impact on the game.

“We know she’s an amazing player and has been for a long time for South Africa, especially in ODI cricket,” Mooney said. “She’ll have a lot more time to go out there at the WACA and once you get in out there it’s a beautiful place to bat so she’ll probably be eyeing that off I’d imagine.

“We’ll have to come up with some pretty good plans to try to nullify her. We do know that they possess some world-class players in their line-up … for us, it’s about making sure we nullify the impact that those players can have in Laura, and Marizanne Kapp. If we can take them out of the game as early as possible and do our skills as well as we can, I think that the result will take care of itself.”

–IANS/hs/

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